I Wonder Which Wefts Will Work

You see the bare warp. How will the finished towels look? We won’t know until the weft is chosen. I will hold an audition for colors and fibers in my stash, and find the most worthy candidates. Questioning and testing in this way, by sampling, helps me discover the best possible options, before committing to the whole 7 1/2 yards (6.8 meters).

Glimakra Ideal being dressed with cotton warp for towels.

Cotton warp as it is being beamed. The threads come over the back beam, and down to the warp beam, as viewed from the back of the Glimakra Ideal loom.

Apparently, human beings are hard-wired for discovery. We like to search things out, understand, and discover hidden treasures of insight and knowledge. Why is that? Why is a weaver interested in figuring out which weft color will show off a warp to its best advantage? We all seem to be made with built-in questions…

We are created to find our maker, to discover who he is and what he is about. Surely, this accounts for our endless quest for answers about everything. In searching for the answers to the deepest questions, we feel our way toward our creator. And we find him waiting for us with open arms. He’s been near all along.

And the winner is… Drum roll, please… Color wrapping #5, will you please stand up! (Click HERE to see what the commotion is about. Be sure to scroll down to read the comments.)
Thank you for your vote. It made me feel good that my first choice received the most votes; and my second choice, #3, received important votes, as well. My husband’s first choice, #2, also received a vote. So, we all win! Yay! (It is not too late for you to leave your opinion. We’d love to know what you think.)

May your questions lead you to joyful discoveries.

With you,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Barbara says:

    Curious to know how the black & white photo turned out.

  • Judith says:

    Hi Karen

    Just a question about your cotton. I live in Canada and have limited
    choice to purchase here. I am really unsatisfied with the
    colours and quality of cotton available to me here. Your cotton colours look so rich. I was wondering if you could suggest a supplier in the U.S. I actually
    live quite close to Washington/British Columbia border so I shop in the
    U.S. frequently. Thank you for any suggestions.

  • Karen says:

    Hi Judith,

    I use Bockens cotton from Sweden. It is high quality, has many colors to choose from, and it seems to be pretty much colorfast through washings. I order almost all of my thread through Joanne Hall at Glimakrausa.com, but there are other suppliers, too, that carry Bockens cotton. Borgs, another Swedish company, also makes high quality thread in some of the finer sizes, like 24/2 and 30/2.

  • Claudia says:

    Karen,
    How do you go about choosing a threading and treadling design with the different warp stripes? Do they coincide with a particular design, or is it a basic twill?
    I weave towels, and have only done a colorful warp from an existing pattern from someone else. I’d like to make up my own – and any advice would be appreciated
    Thanks, a new weaver

    also = what is your typical width on the loom for towels (I have had some sad shrinking issues and resulting tiny towels!)

    • Karen says:

      Great questions, Claudia!
      This particular design does coincide with the stripes, but I have done stripes that do not coincide with the design. It depends on the look you want. Sometimes, not aligning the stripes with the design can bring depth and interest, but you also take a risk that it will look unbalanced and incoherent as a whole. It is fun to experiment and find out what works and what doesn’t work as well.

      This particular project is a little different from a “basic twill.” This is a three-shaft twill. I’m adapting a draft from Väv Scandinavian Weaving Magazine, 1/13, p. 59, “Viking era handtowel.” There are 36 ends to one repeat of the pattern, but that’s actually 18 ends, twice. So I coincided my stripes with the 18-end pattern by thinking of 18 ends as one unit. (I hope that makes sense.) You could use the same concept with a basic twill, or with any repeated pattern of threading. Figure out how many of those units you have, and then determine where you want the color changes to be, according to that. Write out the exact warp order sequence, with number of threads, so you can keep track as you wind the warp.

      I know what you mean about shrinking issues. It helps to take rigorous notes as you weave – what fibers, weave structure, before and after width measurements. That way, you can start to learn how finished items will behave, and make better predictions. (I’m still learning that, by the way!)

      I usually make towels about 18-20 inches wide on the loom. I plan for about 10% shrinkage with cotton or cottolin thread. (For these towels, I went around my house and measured the towels I like best, and then worked out the draft for number of threads, and then added 10%.)

      Hope this helps!
      Happy weaving, and bravo for wanting to jump in with your own designs!
      Karen

  • Claudia says:

    Karen – this was so very helpful. I love waking up to your blog – I am so inspired. Thanks so much.

Leave a Reply to Claudia Cancel reply